Heading into Thursdays match with Duke university, Appalachian state’s wrestling team has won 5 matches in a row, all 5 of them being Socon Conference victories as well. With these Victory’s the mountaineers were able to clinch a conference championship for a third year in a row, continuing their hot start to the new year.
Head Coach John Mark Bentley spoke highly of the team’s accomplishments, saying “It means a lot to see consistency in competing for championships. That’s what our program has set out to do and it is a product of a lot of work.”
App state wrestling has long been renowned for their success and being a great team nationally. This team has a thorough mix of young players as well as upperclassmen, and all of them have been making an impact in some way. With the potential this team has to continue to grow, it is natural to think that this team has top 25 potential after theyre past few matches.
When coach Bentley was asked if it would be meaningful to be in the top 25, he stated “It would be phenomenal, it would be 3 years straight we’ve been ranked in the top 25 nationally, that’s unheard of for any sport at Appalachian.” He also stated however that the team was still young and growing, and that the potential of the team would be hard to cap as “we are still growing daily.”
The work that this team puts in continues to be shown off throughout this stretch. Randall Diabe, a junior from Greensboro, was named Socon wrestler of the week this past week with a critical victory over Scottie Boykin of Chattanooga. Diabe is now 6-0 on the year in Socon Dual meets and 12-7 overall. “he’s had a tremendous positive impact. He is a product of buying into the system and it is important for the younger guys to see that.”
Diabe isn’t the only Greensboro wrestler who was essential in the Chattanooga win however. Heavyweight Junior Cary Miller’s victory sealed the match for the mountaineers and kept the winning streak alive.
The most important wrestler this season this year for the mountaineers is the player that has bought into coach Bentley’s program the most, Senior Forrest Przybysz. Przybysz has been in the program for five years after being redshirted as a freshman, and his patience and dedication to the team has been off not only in the recent hot streak, but all-season long. Przybysz has put up a 20-6 record this season and is the embodiment of the nose to the grindstone type of player that app needs to continue this play.
With a young team and a current national ranking of 28, the outcome of the Match against Duke on the 8th in the home finale will determine whether the team is able to achieve a top 25 ranking sooner rather than later. The team will no doubt look to keep it going.